PROS / It can expand and downmix multichannel audio as needed.
CONS / It can't play Blu-rays and isn't compatible with many operating systems.
VERDICT / The player lacks video format and operating system compatibility as well as some functionality, but it looks terrific, plays well and is easy to use.
Sometimes it's nice to just plop down on your couch and watch a video without having to deal with a complicated player that takes forever to set up. BlazeDVD is a digital video player that offers you just such a simple, seamless process. It's easy to use, and while the player's interface isn't as attractive as some of the others on our lineup, it is feature-rich.
We were disappointed to see how limited this software is in terms of what operating systems it's compatible with. It is unavailable for Mac OS X, and for Windows, it only works with 7 and 8. It doesn't even have full Windows 8 touchscreen compatibility. It is also a bit limited in regards to what video formats it can play. It cannot read Blu-ray files or discs, but it can read DVDs and most digital file types.
As we tested this digital video player, we found it consistently easy to navigate and use. The display is easy to resize, and the player widget is small and easy to move so it's never in your way as you play videos on your laptop. Menus are simple and easy to access, and the software loads videos and any changes made to them quickly. Additionally, it averages just 6 percent CPU usage, making it a great option if you can't resist multitasking.
Like most movie player software on our lineup, this one has lossless DTS and Dolby audio support so you'll never be without high-quality audio, even if you're using headphones or running the software through an HDMI cable. The playback smoothing function eliminates annoying lag and buffering for a consistently issue-less viewing session. If you're unable to finish watching a video, the player automatically marks where you leave off and easily resumes playback whenever you continue watching.
The AB repeat function lets you loop any segment of a video you like. For added customization, you can stretch the picture to different aspect ratios to better fit your screen, and you can even digitally zoom in on details. You can also customize the player skin so it matches your taste.
The player is multi-region friendly and even lets you change regions multiple times. For foreign films, you can use any subtitles encoded into the disc or digital file. No other player allows you to have picture-in-picture – just BlazeDVD.
The customer service team for BlazeVideo, the manufacturer, is easy to access, and you can contact it through an online form on its website. The site also has a small FAQs section, which gives you information about basic product- and order-related issues. It has fewer technical support options and resources than most of the other software we reviewed, though. The website doesn't offer manuals or tutorials on how to use the player, and there's no forum where you can discuss it with other users. Unlike with most other players, any upgrades to the software are not free.
Though it takes a few hits with its limited operating system and video format compatibility, BlazeDVD is a good player overall. The software is intuitive to use and navigate, and playback is a cinch. It supports high-definition audio and has various other settings you can tweak and customize for simple, high-quality playback.